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You are in Mothership 4 coverage of the Japan Nuclear Disaster. Please Rec this diary, and this diary, only.  Unrec previous diaries in the series.    In general, try to use the ROV's for discussion and commentary.  This diary will serve as a reference and anchor point.

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ROV 16: Japan Nuclear Disaster by ekyprogressive

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Lets STICK TO THE FACTS. Please remember to source and link all new information.  (This includes insuring authenticity of twitter sources.)



The CS Monitor is hosting a constantly updated timeline of events, beginning at 2:46 Friday 11 March when a 9.0 Earthquake was the initial shock in an ongoing crisis, magnified by the ensuing tsunami and the ongoing nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power facility.

Breaking: 11:52PM PST Japan weighs need to bury nuclear plant

(Reuters) - Japanese engineers toiled frantically to avert a catastrophic release of radiation from a crippled nuclear power plant north of Tokyo on Friday, but the United States said it could take weeks to cool the facility's overheating fuel rods.
Officials said they hoped to fix a power cable to at least two of the six reactors in the hope of restarting water pumps and were preparing to douse them in the afternoon with water from fire trucks.
However, no one was holding out hope that the crisis -- about to enter its second week after last Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami -- could be overcome anytime soon.
Japan's nuclear agency spokesman conceded that a "Chernobyl solution" of burying the reactors in sand and concrete was in the back of the authorities' minds.

Currently, a power line has been successfully laid and connected to the No. 2 reactor at Fukushima according to the UN nuclear agency and water temperatures have cooled.

CTBTO data suggest that a large meltdown has not yet occurred. Acording to Lars-Erik De Geer, research director of the Swedish Defence Research Institute in Stockholm, a larger meltdown would show higher levels of less volatile elements like zirconium and barium as opposed to measuremenrts which currently registger a high concentrations of more volatile isotopes like iodine and caesium.

At least 3 reactors have had partial meltdowns.  

US President Barack Obama announced he is ordering the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to conduct a review of all US nuclear power plants as a result of the situation in Japan. The President also reassured Americans there is no risk of exposure to significant levels of radiation.

The situation is expected to take weeks to resolve.

Latest Stats as of early morning Friday 18 March. Japan. (combined sources)
-15,000 dead/missing
- 380,000 displaced
- Emergency crews are still having difficulty reaching some areas hit by the tsunami.
- Japan officials are ordered food be tested for radioactivity
- 2,000 emergency shelters are operating
- Shortages of food and water growing critical as well as access to gasoline

Reuters Japan Factbox
Dave Lochbaum, Union of Concerned Scientists: Interview (h/t hopeful skeptic)
• NYT: Q. and A. on the Nuclear Crisis in Japan
Plutonium In Fuel Rods: Cause For Concern? (part of NPR special coverage! h/t jamess)


Coverage @ KOS:
Plubius:Views From Japan: How Bad Is Fukushima?+
skywriter:The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists+
FishOutofWater: Feds Not Releasing Rad Plume Model Results+*
jamess: Big Oil, Big Energy, Big Nukes, Big Bucks+
FishOutofWater: 11,195 spent fuel rods stored at Fukushima+
nathguy: Fukishima 101+
Dr.Linda  Shelton simplifies the physics, chemistry and biology inNuclear Reactors 101
DarkSyde: Anatomy of the Fukushima nuclear crisis
FishOutofWater: TEPCO: "The possibility of re-criticality is not zero"
Vyan: Cool the Reactors with Cadmium!
GlowNZ: Japan Disaster Open Thread: The Earthquake and Tsunami
Nebraskablue: Helicopters to the Rescue?



Japan Earthquake 2011 Global Voices Online provides outstanding ongoing translations of articles and information from Japan, including:
Map of Quake Centers
Shelter locations
Tomomi Sasaki translation from Japanese to English: Infographic of Radiation & Effects on Human body translated from Japanese

How can I help


Media Coverage

Japan Tsunami – Live Streaming/AutoUpdates
Kyodo Nuclear News Feed
NHK Japan Live:NHK Japan Live
Al Jazeera Japan Live: Al Jazeera Japan Live
AJ LiveBlog
Guardian UK:Updated every minute
France24 Live: France24 Live
Global Voice Online(Japan/English translation
ReutersReuters updated continuously


Dave Lochbaum, Union of Concerned Scientists: Interview (h/t hopeful skeptic)
• NYT: Q. and A. on the Nuclear Crisis in Japan
Global Voices Online Japan Twitter List

Twitter #earthquake: Twitter #earthquake
Twitter #japan: Twitter #japan:
Twitter #tsunami: Twitter #tsunami
Japan's PM

Hashtags:  #JPQuake, #japaneq, #japantsunami, #ynwa, #japaneq



• Plubius also has a diary on aid groups needing donations.
CS Monitor has a great list
JapanVolunteers-  - donations, materials, volunteer opportunities and needs,  fundraisers, resource sharing


Crisis Mapping

OpenStreetMap Foundation Japan is using Ushahidi to map crisis information. Volunteers can submit reports through a form or by tweeting location information along with the hashtags #jishin (earthquake), #j_j_helpme (call for help), #hinan (evacuation), #anpi (safety status), or #311care (medical support). The hashtag for people working on the service is #osmjp.

Google Crisis Response Maps(Layers available)
Ushahidi Local Reports Color Coded for Trusted Sources (Japanese/English)
Satellite Imagray
Media Monitoring Japan's Humanity Road

Volunteers are needed to publish and queue up for subsequent diaries. To volunteer to host an ROV or the next mothership, please email to join the group. We will be able to queue diaries for publication throughout this crisis.

Please be kind to kossacks with bandwidth issues. Please do not post images or videos. Again, many thanks for this.

Start with the basics .. the Economist reports on the Japan Syndrome

...  Nuclear energy is produced by atomic fission. A large atom (uranium or plutonium) breaks into two smaller ones, releasing energy and neutrons. These neutrons may then trigger the break-up of further atoms, creating a chain reaction. The faster the neutron, the fewer break-ups it provokes. This is because an incoming neutron has to be captured to provoke fission, and fast neutrons are harder to capture. As a result, the chain reaction will peter out unless the neutrons can be slowed down sufficiently.

There also need to be enough fissionable atoms about for the neutrons to bump into—in other words, a critical mass. That is why uranium fuel has to be enriched, for only one of the two naturally occurring isotopes of the metal is fissile, and it is much the rarer of the two. In water-cooled reactors like the ones at Fukushima, the right combination of slow neutrons and enriched fuel leads to a self-sustaining process which produces energy that can be used to boil water, make steam and drive a turbine to generate electricity. Besides cooling the fuel (and thus producing the steam) the water also acts as a so-called moderator, slowing down the neutrons and keeping the reaction going.
So what happens when things cease to run smoothly, as when an earthquake interferes with the plant's systems? When designing reactors, engineers attempt to achieve what they call “defence in depth”. The idea is that if any specific defence fails, another will make good the shortfall. This is a principle that Fukushima Dai-ichi, the worst hit of the nuclear plants, has been testing to destruction. The defences have failed badly at all three of the reactors which were running at the time the earthquake hit.

h/t siri
Facts from from Nuclear Energy Institute Fact Sheet

♣ Used nuclear fuel at the Fukushima Daiichi plant is stored in seven pools (one at each of the six reactors, plus a shared pool) and in a dry container storage facility (containing nine casks).
♣ Sixty percent of the used fuel on site is stored in the shared pool, in a building separated from the reactor buildings; 34 percent of the used fuel is distributed between the six reactor fuel storage pools, and the remaining six percent is stored in the nine dry storage containers.  There are no safety concerns regarding the used fuel in dry storage at Fukushima Daiichi.
♣ Used fuel pools are robust concrete and steel structures designed to protect the fuel from even the most severe events.  Pools are designed with systems to maintain the temperature and water levels sufficient to provide cooling and radiation shielding.
♣ The water level in a used fuel pool typically is 16 feet or more above the top of the fuel assemblies.
♣ The used fuel pools at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors are located at the top of the reactor buildings for ease of handling during refueling operations.
♣ The used fuel pools are designed so that the water in the pool cannot drain down as a result of damage to the piping or cooling systems.  The pools do not have drains in the sides or the floor of the pool structure.  The only way to rapidly drain down the pool is if there is structural damage to the walls or the floor

Originally posted to Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 11:34 PM PDT.

Also republished by Nuclear Free DK.

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